PORTMORE United's head coach Andre Waugh was a relieved man at the end of the Red Stripe Premier League Monday Night showpiece after the champions picked up their first points of the season via a 1-0 beating of Waterhouse FC at Ferdie Neita Park.
Former Waterhouse player Stephen Williams scored in the 28th minute when he slid by numerous challenges before faking to shoot with his left foot and then curling a deft finish with his less-favoured right boot beyond the desperate dive of goalkeeper Richard McCallum.
Waugh, who missed Portmore's opening two matches due to commitments with the national team, said the team was desperate for its first win of the season.
"Heading into the match we came to a decision that we had to do what we had to in order to win the game. I'm absolutely delighted to get the win and I'm very pleased with the showing.
"We had to be positive and the players stood up well. We kept a clean sheet and with the one-goal advantage we managed that well," Waugh told the Jamaica Observer.
With the combination of poor finishing, sloppy defending and a flicker of indiscipline undermining the team's respective losses to newly-promoted Savannah FC and Cavalier SC, Waugh is hopeful his return to the sidelines can make a difference.
"I'm hoping my presence on the bench will continue to bring the team in that vein. (I am) looking forward to more wins," Waugh said with a smile.
He, however, kept a straight face in adding: "When I'm not around I think we have a capable staff that's very competent and I know the players understand that it's business as usual, regardless of who is on the bench."
Assistant coach of Waterhouse, Marcel Gayle, felt his team should have scored an early opportunity and the defenders lost focus to concede from Williams' individual run.
"In the first half we were tentative and in the second half we took over a bit and it's unfortunate we couldn't get the ball in the back of the net.
"If we got an early goal then we would have been more composed and probably pass the ball around some more. We lost concentration and that cost us the goal," Gayle said.
Despite losing substitute Jason Watson to a red card in the second half, Waterhouse fought for the equaliser but were kept at bay by a generally sturdy Portmore defensive unit.
"Down to 10 players sometimes it can take a toll on you, but even with one short I think we put in a creditable performance," added Gayle.
Within the first five minutes of play, Waterhouse could have taken the lead, but top marksman Jermaine Anderson, who out-muscled the Portmore defence, saw his header rebound off the crossbar with goalkeeper Carlloyd Walters well beaten.
After the early pressure from Waterhouse, the home team, buoyed by the return of attacking right-back Rosario Harriott, settled eventually and made a few promising surges at their opponents' goal.
It was Williams, however, who stole the show with a goal befitting a match-winner when he dismantled the Waterhouse defence, including a totally bemused Rohan Amos, before curling the ball into the top right-hand corner of the goal.